Uganda Orders Shutdown Of All Social Media Apps Ahead Of General Election
Uganda’s communications regulator has on Tuesday ordered internet service providers to shut down social media and messaging applications, ahead of general election scheduled to hold January 14.
In a letter seen by AFP, Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) executive director, Irene Sewankambo ordered telecommunications companies to “immediately suspend any access and use” of social media and online messaging platforms.
An industry source who spoke on condition of anonymity said the order was first communicated in “nasty and aggressive” phone calls to the telecommunications companies on Tuesday morning.
The calls made it clear the order was retaliation for Facebook deleting pro-government accounts for seeking to manipulate public debate ahead of the election.
Facebook on Monday said the accounts were linked to the ministry of information and technology.
The list of banned social media sites include Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, Signal and Viber. Some of these were already offline on Tuesday.
On Monday, a list of over 100 virtual private networks (VPNs) was distributed to internet service providers by UCC with orders to block them, according to the insider.
UCC spokesman, Ibrahim Bbosa said;
I am not aware of a directive to switch off internet or social media platforms. There has been slow connectivity on the platforms which can be partly due to heavy traffic as a result of the forthcoming elections.